Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, running for governor:
There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today. Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere. The example I think of is Noah. How old was Noah when he built the Ark? 600. He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks. He wasn’t hanging out; he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.
The “word” retirement never made it into the bible, but a translation of a Hebrew word (yakach, Isaiah 1:18) did get rendered as reason, and I don’t see any attempt to live up to that concept!
Several things wrong with Gianforte’s way of “reasoning”:
- If we assume that Noah was 600 yo when he built the ark as fact, that is an “is” statement. Gianforte transfers that to an “obligation,” which is a “should” statement. That is a fallacy called “the Naturalistic Fallacy,” where in the middle of an argument, you change an ‘is’ to a ‘should’.
- Noah supposedly lived to be 950 years old. Let’s say that 1000 years old is the top and let’s say 100 years old is the top today. He was 600 years old when he built the ark, which would make him, by our standards, 60 years old. He was not retirement age.
- Finally, he makes the statement « There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. »
This type of fundamentalist thinking gets to argue that what is in the Bible is instruction and what isn’t in the Bible is also instruction. The Bible also has nothing to say about lunch breaks and vacations or maternity leave. It says nothing about who gets to drive a car or what rules of the road we should have. The argument of non-existence because it wasn’t mentioned assumes that the Bible is exhaustive in what one needs to know and do; and what isn’t mentioned is therefore prohibited.
What Gianforte is doing is a farce of reasoning. It barely rises to “thinking.” It’s a form of arrogance: attributing unto himself an understanding and skill he does not actually possess. And if he does, this is not an example of either.
This would be comical if it didn’t have the capability of adversely affecting the lives of so many people. It’s like watching a satire cartoon that exaggerates religious idiocy, except that it’s real. I can only image that the One God allows this to happen (that idiots speak for Him without correction) because, if we don’t question what we’re hearing, we get what we deserve.
For another example of this type of reasoning, except about the Bible specifying limited government, read this post.